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110th Congress                                                   Report
                        HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
 1st Session                                                    110-148

======================================================================



 
    JOHN R. JUSTICE PROSECUTORS AND DEFENDERS INCENTIVE ACT OF 2007

                                _______
                                

  May 14, 2007.--Committed to the Committee of the Whole House on the 
              State of the Union and ordered to be printed

                                _______
                                

    Mr. Conyers, from the Committee on the Judiciary, submitted the 
                               following

                              R E P O R T

                             together with

                            ADDITIONAL VIEWS

                        [To accompany H.R. 916]

      [Including cost estimate of the Congressional Budget Office]

  The Committee on the Judiciary, to whom was referred the bill 
(H.R. 916) to provide for loan repayment for prosecutors and 
public defenders, having considered the same, reports favorably 
thereon with an amendment and recommends that the bill as 
amended do pass.

                                CONTENTS

                                                                   Page
The Amendment....................................................     1
Purpose and Summary..............................................     4
Background and Need for the Legislation..........................     4
Hearings.........................................................     5
Committee Consideration..........................................     5
Committee Votes..................................................     5
Committee Oversight Findings.....................................     5
New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures........................     6
Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate........................     6
Performance Goals and Objectives.................................     7
Constitutional Authority Statement...............................     7
Advisory on Earmarks.............................................     7
Section-by-Section Analysis......................................     8
Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported............     9
Additional Views.................................................    12

                             The Amendment

  The amendment is as follows:
  Strike all after the enacting clause and insert the 
following:

SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

    This Act may be cited as the ``John R. Justice Prosecutors and 
Defenders Incentive Act of 2007''.

SEC. 2. LOAN REPAYMENT FOR PROSECUTORS AND DEFENDERS.

    Title I of the Omnibus Crime Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 
(42 U.S.C. 3711 et seq.) is amended by adding at the end the following:

     ``PART JJ--LOAN REPAYMENT FOR PROSECUTORS AND PUBLIC DEFENDERS

``SEC. 3111. GRANT AUTHORIZATION.

    ``(a) Purpose.--The purpose of this section is to encourage 
qualified individuals to enter and continue employment as prosecutors 
and public defenders.
    ``(b) Definitions.--In this section:
            ``(1) Prosecutor.--The term `prosecutor' means a full-time 
        employee of a State or local agency who--
                    ``(A) is continually licensed to practice law; and
                    ``(B) prosecutes criminal or juvenile delinquency 
                cases (or both) at the State or local level, including 
                an employee who supervises, educates, or trains other 
                persons prosecuting such cases.
            ``(2) Public defender.--The term `public defender' means an 
        attorney who--
                    ``(A) is continually licensed to practice law; and
                    ``(B) is--
                            ``(i) a full-time employee of a State or 
                        local agency who provides legal representation 
                        to indigent persons in criminal or juvenile 
                        delinquency cases (or both), including an 
                        attorney who supervises, educates, or trains 
                        other persons providing such representation;
                            ``(ii) a full-time employee of a nonprofit 
                        organization operating under a contract with a 
                        State or unit of local government, who devotes 
                        substantially all of such full-time employment 
                        to providing legal representation to indigent 
                        persons in criminal or juvenile delinquency 
                        cases (or both), including an attorney who 
                        supervises, educates, or trains other persons 
                        providing such representation; or
                            ``(iii) employed as a full-time Federal 
                        defender attorney in a defender organization 
                        established pursuant to subsection (g) of 
                        section 3006A of title 18, United States Code, 
                        that provides legal representation to indigent 
                        persons in criminal or juvenile delinquency 
                        cases (or both).
            ``(3) Student loan.--The term `student loan' means--
                    ``(A) a loan made, insured, or guaranteed under 
                part B of title IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 
                (20 U.S.C. 1071 et seq.);
                    ``(B) a loan made under part D or E of title IV of 
                the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1087a et 
                seq. and 1087aa et seq.); and
                    ``(C) a loan made under section 428C or 455(g) of 
                the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1078-3 and 
                1087e(g)) to the extent that such loan was used to 
                repay a Federal Direct Stafford Loan, a Federal Direct 
                Unsubsidized Stafford Loan, or a loan made under 
                section 428 or 428H of such Act.
    ``(c) Program Authorized.--The Attorney General shall, subject to 
the availability of appropriations, establish a program by which the 
Department of Justice shall assume the obligation to repay a student 
loan, by direct payments on behalf of a borrower to the holder of such 
loan, in accordance with subsection (d), for any borrower who--
            ``(1) is employed as a prosecutor or public defender; and
            ``(2) is not in default on a loan for which the borrower 
        seeks forgiveness.
    ``(d) Terms of Loan Repayment.--
            ``(1) Borrower agreement.--To be eligible to receive 
        repayment benefits under subsection (c), a borrower shall enter 
        into a written agreement with the Attorney General that 
        specifies that--
                    ``(A) the borrower will remain employed as a 
                prosecutor or public defender for a required period of 
                service of not less than 3 years, unless involuntarily 
                separated from that employment;
                    ``(B) if the borrower is involuntarily separated 
                from employment on account of misconduct, or 
                voluntarily separates from employment, before the end 
                of the period specified in the agreement, the borrower 
                will repay the Attorney General the amount of any 
                benefits received by such employee under this section; 
                and
                    ``(C) if the borrower is required to repay an 
                amount to the Attorney General under subparagraph (B) 
                and fails to repay such amount, a sum equal to that 
                amount shall be recoverable by the Federal Government 
                from the employee (or such employee's estate, if 
                applicable) by such methods as are provided by law for 
                the recovery of amounts owed to the Federal Government.
            ``(2) Repayment by borrower.--
                    ``(A) In general.--Any amount repaid by, or 
                recovered from, an individual or the estate of an 
                individual under this subsection shall be credited to 
                the appropriation account from which the amount 
                involved was originally paid.
                    ``(B) Merger.--Any amount credited under 
                subparagraph (A) shall be merged with other sums in 
                such account and shall be available for the same 
                purposes and period, and subject to the same 
                limitations, if any, as the sums with which the amount 
                was merged.
                    ``(C) Waiver.--The Attorney General may waive, in 
                whole or in part, a right of recovery under this 
                subsection if it is shown that recovery would be 
                against equity and good conscience or against the 
                public interest.
            ``(3) Limitations.--
                    ``(A) Student loan payment amount.--Student loan 
                repayments made by the Attorney General under this 
                section shall be made subject to the availability of 
                appropriations, and subject to such terms, limitations, 
                or conditions as may be mutually agreed upon by the 
                borrower and the Attorney General in an agreement under 
                paragraph (1), except that the amount paid by the 
                Attorney General under this section shall not exceed--
                            ``(i) $10,000 for any borrower in any 
                        calendar year; or
                            ``(ii) an aggregate total of $60,000 in the 
                        case of any borrower.
                    ``(B) Beginning of payments.--Nothing in this 
                section shall authorize the Attorney General to pay any 
                amount to reimburse a borrower for any repayments made 
                by such borrower prior to the date on which the 
                Attorney General entered into an agreement with the 
                borrower under this subsection.
    ``(e) Additional Agreements.--
            ``(1) In general.--On completion of the required period of 
        service under an agreement under subsection (d), the borrower 
        and the Attorney General may, subject to paragraph (2), enter 
        into an additional agreement in accordance with subsection (d).
            ``(2) Term.--An agreement entered into under paragraph (1) 
        may require the borrower to remain employed as a prosecutor or 
        public defender for less than 3 years.
    ``(f) Award Basis; Priority.--
            ``(1) Award basis.--The Attorney General shall provide 
        repayment benefits under this section--
                    ``(A) subject to the availability of 
                appropriations; and
                    ``(B) in accordance with paragraph (2), except that 
                the Attorney General shall determine a fair allocation 
                of repayment benefits among prosecutors and defenders, 
                and among employing entities nationwide.
            ``(2) Priority.--In providing repayment benefits under this 
        section in any fiscal year, the Attorney General shall give 
        priority to borrowers--
                    ``(A) who, when compared to other eligible 
                borrowers, have the least ability to repay their 
                student loans (considering whether the borrower is the 
                beneficiary of any other student loan repayment 
                program), as determined by the Attorney General; or
                    ``(B) who--
                            ``(i) received repayment benefits under 
                        this section during the preceding fiscal year; 
                        and
                            ``(ii) have completed less than 3 years of 
                        the first required period of service specified 
                        for the borrower in an agreement entered into 
                        under subsection (d).
    ``(g) Regulations.--The Attorney General is authorized to issue 
such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the provisions of 
this section.
    ``(h) Report by Inspector General.--Not later than 3 years after 
the date of the enactment of this section, the Inspector General of the 
Department of Justice shall submit to Congress a report on--
            ``(1) the cost of the program authorized under this 
        section; and
            ``(2) the impact of such program on the hiring and 
        retention of prosecutors and public defenders.
    ``(i) GAO Study.--Not later than one year after the date of the 
enactment of this section, the Comptroller General shall conduct a 
study of, and report to Congress on, the impact that law school 
accreditation requirements and other factors have on the costs of law 
school and student access to law school, including the impact of such 
requirements on racial and ethnic minorities.
    ``(j) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized to be 
appropriated to carry out this section $25,000,000 for each of the 
fiscal years 2008 through 2013.''.

                          Purpose and Summary

    For our Nation's criminal justice system to function 
effectively, it is critical that there be a sufficient number 
of dedicated and competent attorneys working as prosecutors and 
public defenders. As a result of the escalating cost of law 
school education and competitive salaries in the private 
sector, however, prosecutor and public defender offices are 
encountering serious difficulties recruiting and retaining 
qualified attorneys. H.R. 916, the ``John R. Justice 
Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act of 2007,'' responds to 
this problem by establishing a targeted student loan repayment 
assistance program. This program will provide a meaningful 
incentive that will serve to recruit and retain qualified 
attorneys in the criminal justice system.

                Background and Need for the Legislation

    According to the 2005 National Survey of Prosecutors 
conducted by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, 24 percent of 
State and local prosecutor offices had difficulty recruiting 
new attorneys, and 35 percent had difficulty retaining 
attorneys. These problems are particularly severe in large 
prosecutor offices. More than 60 percent of prosecutor offices 
that serve populations of 250,000 or more reported problems 
with attorney retention.
    The same concerns apply to public defender offices. State 
and local governments are obligated to provide indigent defense 
services in order to satisfy criminal defendants' 
constitutional right to counsel. A survey administered by Equal 
Justice Works and the National Legal Aid & Defender Association 
in 2002, however, found that more than 60 percent of public 
interest law employers, including State and local public 
defender offices, reported difficulty in attorney recruitment 
and retention.
    When prosecutor and public defender offices are unable to 
recruit attorneys or retain experienced ones, the criminal 
justice system is undermined. Staff shortages may force offices 
to decline new cases, or may force existing staff to take on 
unmanageable workloads. This works to the detriment of the 
criminal justice system in a number of ways. It may result in 
lengthy and unnecessary delays; it may risk some cases being 
mishandled by inexperienced or overworked attorneys; it may 
result in innocent individuals remaining incarcerated while 
their cases wait to be processed; and it may result in guilty 
individuals being released as a result of case backlogs. H.R. 
916, the ``John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive 
Act of 2007,'' addresses these problems by establishing, within 
the Justice Department, a student loan repayment assistance 
program for attorneys who agree to remain employed for at least 
3 years as State or local criminal prosecutors, or as Federal, 
State, or local public defenders in criminal cases. The bill 
permits these attorneys to enter into subsequent agreements, 
after the required 3-year minimum period, for additional 
periods of service.
    The bill provides repayment assistance for student loans 
made, insured, or guaranteed under the Higher Education Act of 
1965. It authorizes the Attorney General to make direct 
payments of up to $10,000 per year to a lender on behalf of a 
prosecutor or defender borrower. The maximum aggregate value of 
payments made on behalf of a borrower is limited to $60,000. 
H.R. 916 is named after the late John Justice, who served as a 
solicitor for the Sixth Judicial Circuit in South Carolina, and 
as president of the National District Attorneys Association. 
Mr. Justice was a strong supporter of student loan repayment 
assistance programs for public sector attorneys.

                                Hearings

    The Committee's Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and 
Homeland Security held 1 day of hearings on H.R. 916, on 
Tuesday, April 24, 2007. Testimony was received from Laurie 
Robinson, Director, Master of Science Program, Department of 
Criminology University of Pennsylvania; Douglas H. Palmer, 
Mayor of Trenton, New Jersey and President of the United States 
Conference of Mayors; Edmund H. Mosca, Chief of Police, Old 
Saybrook Department of Police Services, Old Saybrook, 
Connecticut; Kamala D. Harris, District Attorney, City of San 
Francisco, California; Mark Epley, Senior Counsel, Office of 
the Deputy Attorney General, United States Department of 
Justice; and John Monaghan, Consultant, New York City Law 
Department.

                        Committee Consideration

    On April 26, 2007, the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, 
and Homeland Security met in open session and ordered the bill, 
H.R. 916, favorably reported, by voice vote, a quorum being 
present. On May 2, 2007, the Committee met in open session and 
ordered the bill, H.R. 916, favorably reported with an 
amendment, by voice vote, a quorum being present.

                            Committee Votes

    In compliance with clause 3(b) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that there 
were no recorded votes during the Committee's consideration of 
H.R. 916.

                      Committee Oversight Findings

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee advises that the 
findings and recommendations of the Committee, based on 
oversight activities under clause 2(b)(1) of rule X of the 
Rules of the House of Representatives, are incorporated in the 
descriptive portions of this report.

               New Budget Authority and Tax Expenditures

    Clause 3(c)(2) of rule XIII of the Rules of the House of 
Representatives is inapplicable because this legislation does 
not provide new budgetary authority or increased tax 
expenditures.

               Congressional Budget Office Cost Estimate

    In compliance with clause 3(c)(3) of rule XIII of the Rules 
of the House of Representatives, the Committee sets forth, with 
respect to the bill, H.R. 916, the following estimate and 
comparison prepared by the Director of the Congressional Budget 
Office under section 402 of the Congressional Budget Act of 
1974.

                                     U.S. Congress,
                               Congressional Budget Office,
                                       Washington, DC, May 7, 2007.
Hon. John Conyers, Jr., Chairman,
Committee on the Judiciary,
House of Representatives, Washington, DC.
    Dear Mr. Chairman: The Congressional Budget Office has 
prepared the enclosed cost estimate for H.R. 916, the John R. 
Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act of 2007.
    If you wish further details on this estimate, we will be 
pleased to provide them. The CBO staff contact is Mark 
Grabowicz, who can be reached at 226-2860.
            Sincerely,
                                           Peter R. Orszag,
                                                  Director.

Enclosure

cc:
        Honorable Lamar S. Smith.
        Ranking Member
H.R. 916--John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive Act of 
        2007.

                                SUMMARY

    H.R. 916 would authorize the appropriation of $25 million 
for each of fiscal years 2008 through 2013 for the Department 
of Justice to establish a program to repay student loans for 
certain prosecutors and public defenders who agree to serve for 
at least three years in those positions. Assuming appropriation 
of the authorized amounts, CBO estimates that implementing the 
bill would cost $83 million over the 2008-2012 period, with 
additional amounts spent in later years. Enacting H.R. 916 
would not affect direct spending or revenues.
    H.R. 916 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in the Unfunded Mandates Reform Act (UMRA) 
and would impose no costs on State, local, or tribal 
governments.

                ESTIMATED COST TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT

    The estimated budgetary impact of H.R. 916 is shown in the 
following table. For this estimate, CBO assumes that the 
amounts authorized by the bill will be appropriated by the 
beginning of each fiscal year. For this estimate, CBO assumes 
that outlays will follow the historical rate of spending for 
similar programs. The cost of this legislation falls within 
budget function 750 (administration of justice).

                                     By Fiscal Year, in Millions of Dollars
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
                                                                       2008     2009     2010     2011     2012
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
SPENDING SUBJECT TO APPROPRIATION
Authorization Level                                                       25       25       25       25       25

Estimated Outlays                                                          6       13       17       22       25
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

              INTERGOVERNMENTAL AND PRIVATE-SECTOR IMPACT

    H.R. 916 contains no intergovernmental or private-sector 
mandates as defined in UMRA and would impose no costs on State, 
local, or tribal governments.

                         PREVIOUS CBO ESTIMATE

    On March 9, 2007, CBO transmitted a cost estimate for S. 
442, the John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders Incentive 
Act of 2007, as ordered reported by the Senate Committee on the 
Judiciary on March 1, 2007. That bill would authorize the 
appropriation of $25 million for fiscal year 2008 and such sums 
as may be necessary for each subsequent year for the loan 
repayment program. CBO estimated that implementing S. 442 would 
cost about $90 million over the 2008-2012 period.

                         ESTIMATE PREPARED BY:

Federal Costs: Mark Grabowicz (226-2860)
Impact on State, Local, and Tribal Governments: Melissa Merrell 
    (225-3220)
Impact on the Private Sector: Jacob Kuipers (226-2960)

                         ESTIMATE APPROVED BY:

Peter H. Fontaine
Deputy Assistant Director for Budget Analysis

                    Performance Goals and Objectives

    The Committee states that pursuant to clause 3(c)(4) of 
rule XIII of the Rules of the House of Representatives, the 
goal of H.R. 916 is to provide a meaningful incentive to 
recruit and retain qualified and experienced prosecutors and 
public defenders who can serve the criminal justice system.

                   Constitutional Authority Statement

    Pursuant to clause 3(d)(1) of rule XIII of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, the Committee finds the authority for 
this legislation in article I, section 8 of the Constitution.

                          Advisory on Earmarks

    In accordance with clause 9 of rule XXI of the Rules of the 
House of Representatives, H.R. 916 does not contain any 
congressional earmarks, limited tax benefits, or limited tariff 
benefits as defined in clause 9(d), 9(e), or 9(f) of Rule XXI.

                      Section-by-Section Analysis

    The following discussion describes the bill as reported by 
the Committee.
    Sec. 1. Short Title. Section 1 sets forth the short title 
of the bill as the ``John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders 
Incentive Act of 2007.''
    Sec. 2. Loan Repayment for Prosecutors and Defenders. 
Section 2 adds new section 3111 to title I of the Omnibus Crime 
Control and Safe Streets Act of 1968 for the purpose of 
authorizing grants for student loan repayment assistance for 
prosecutors and public defenders. Section 3111(a) explains that 
the purpose of this section is to encourage qualified 
individuals to enter and continue employment as prosecutors and 
public defenders.
    Section 3111(b) defines ``prosecutor'' and ``public 
defender'' to include full-time employees of state or local 
agencies who: (1) are continually licensed to practice law; and 
(2) prosecute criminal cases or provide legal representation to 
indigent persons in criminal cases.
    The definition of ``public defender'' includes full-time 
employees of a non-profit organization operating under a 
contract with a state or local government that provides 
indigent criminal defense services; numerous communities across 
the Nation, including New York City, Philadelphia, Seattle, 
Detroit, and Louisville, contract out the bulk of their 
indigent defense services to non-profit organizations.
    Section 3111(c) authorizes the Attorney General to 
establish a program through which the Justice Department makes 
direct payments on behalf of an individual prosecutor or public 
defender to the lender, provided the individual is not in 
default on the loan, and subject to the Act's other 
requirements.
    Section 3111(d) sets forth the terms of the requisite 
written agreement that an individual must enter into in order 
to be eligible to receive repayment benefits. These terms 
include a commitment by the individual to remain employed as a 
prosecutor or public defender for not less than 3 years. An 
agreement with a required period of service for more than 3 
years is permissible if mutually acceptable. The individual 
must also agree that if he or she is involuntarily separated 
from employment on account of misconduct or voluntarily 
separates before the end of the period specified in the 
agreement, the individual will repay the Attorney General any 
benefits received pursuant to the agreement. The Attorney 
General may waive, in whole or in part, a right of recovery if 
it would be against equity and good conscience or against the 
public interest. Student loan repayments under this section are 
limited to $10,000 for an individual per year with an aggregate 
maximum of $60,000 per individual.
    Section 3111(e) provides that upon the completion of an 
individual's first required period of service under such 
agreement, the individual may enter into an additional 
agreement. This subsequent agreement may be for less than 3 
years, although loan repayments under an additional agreement 
remain limited to a maximum of $10,000 per individual per year, 
with an aggregate maximum of $60,000 per individual.
    Section 3111(f) sets out the criteria pursuant to which the 
Attorney General may award loan repayment benefits under the 
program. The provision requires the Attorney General to 
allocate repayment benefits fairly among prosecutors and public 
defenders, and among employing offices nationwide. It also 
mandates that the Attorney General give priority to those 
borrowers who have the least ability to repay their student 
loans.
    Section 3111(g) authorizes the Attorney General to issue 
regulations as necessary to carry out the provisions of this 
Act.
    Section 3111(h) requires the Justice Department's Inspector 
General to report to Congress within 3 years from the date of 
the Act's enactment on the impact of the loan repayment program 
on the hiring and retention of prosecutors and public 
defenders.
    Section 3111(i) requires the Comptroller General to conduct 
a study of, and report back to Congress on, the impact of law 
school accreditation requirements on the cost of law school and 
student access to law school within 1 year after the date of 
the Act's enactment.
    Subsection (j) authorizes the appropriation of $25 million 
per year for fiscal years 2008 through 2013 for the purpose of 
implementing this Act.

         Changes in Existing Law Made by the Bill, as Reported

  In compliance with clause 3(e) of rule XIII of the Rules of 
the House of Representatives, changes in existing law made by 
the bill, as reported, are shown as follows (new matter is 
printed in italics and existing law in which no change is 
proposed is shown in roman):

                       OMNIBUS CRIME CONTROL AND 
                        SAFE STREETS ACT OF 1968



           *       *       *       *       *       *       *
TITLE I--JUSTICE SYSTEM IMPROVEMENT

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


      PART JJ--LOAN REPAYMENT FOR PROSECUTORS AND PUBLIC DEFENDERS

SEC. 3111. GRANT AUTHORIZATION.

    (a) Purpose.--The purpose of this section is to encourage 
qualified individuals to enter and continue employment as 
prosecutors and public defenders.
    (b) Definitions.--In this section:
            (1) Prosecutor.--The term ``prosecutor'' means a 
        full-time employee of a State or local agency who--
                    (A) is continually licensed to practice 
                law; and
                    (B) prosecutes criminal or juvenile 
                delinquency cases (or both) at the State or 
                local level, including an employee who 
                supervises, educates, or trains other persons 
                prosecuting such cases.
            (2) Public defender.--The term ``public defender'' 
        means an attorney who--
                    (A) is continually licensed to practice 
                law; and
                    (B) is--
                            (i) a full-time employee of a State 
                        or local agency who provides legal 
                        representation to indigent persons in 
                        criminal or juvenile delinquency cases 
                        (or both), including an attorney who 
                        supervises, educates, or trains other 
                        persons providing such representation;
                            (ii) a full-time employee of a 
                        nonprofit organization operating under 
                        a contract with a State or unit of 
                        local government, who devotes 
                        substantially all of such full-time 
                        employment to providing legal 
                        representation to indigent persons in 
                        criminal or juvenile delinquency cases 
                        (or both), including an attorney who 
                        supervises, educates, or trains other 
                        persons providing such representation; 
                        or
                            (iii) employed as a full-time 
                        Federal defender attorney in a defender 
                        organization established pursuant to 
                        subsection (g) of section 3006A of 
                        title 18, United States Code, that 
                        provides legal representation to 
                        indigent persons in criminal or 
                        juvenile delinquency cases (or both).
            (3) Student loan.--The term ``student loan'' 
        means--
                    (A) a loan made, insured, or guaranteed 
                under part B of title IV of the Higher 
                Education Act of 1965 (20 U.S.C. 1071 et seq.);
                    (B) a loan made under part D or E of title 
                IV of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 
                U.S.C. 1087a et seq. and 1087aa et seq.); and
                    (C) a loan made under section 428C or 
                455(g) of the Higher Education Act of 1965 (20 
                U.S.C. 1078--3 and 1087e(g)) to the extent that 
                such loan was used to repay a Federal Direct 
                Stafford Loan, a Federal Direct Unsubsidized 
                Stafford Loan, or a loan made under section 428 
                or 428H of such Act.
    (c) Program Authorized.--The Attorney General shall, 
subject to the availability of appropriations, establish a 
program by which the Department of Justice shall assume the 
obligation to repay a student loan, by direct payments on 
behalf of a borrower to the holder of such loan, in accordance 
with subsection (d), for any borrower who--
            (1) is employed as a prosecutor or public defender; 
        and
            (2) is not in default on a loan for which the 
        borrower seeks forgiveness.
    (d) Terms of Loan Repayment.--
            (1) Borrower agreement.--To be eligible to receive 
        repayment benefits under subsection (c), a borrower 
        shall enter into a written agreement with the Attorney 
        General that specifies that--
                    (A) the borrower will remain employed as a 
                prosecutor or public defender for a required 
                period of service of not less than 3 years, 
                unless involuntarily separated from that 
                employment;
                    (B) if the borrower is involuntarily 
                separated from employment on account of 
                misconduct, or voluntarily separates from 
                employment, before the end of the period 
                specified in the agreement, the borrower will 
                repay the Attorney General the amount of any 
                benefits received by such employee under this 
                section; and
                    (C) if the borrower is required to repay an 
                amount to the Attorney General under 
                subparagraph (B) and fails to repay such 
                amount, a sum equal to that amount shall be 
                recoverable by the Federal Government from the 
                employee (or such employee's estate, if 
                applicable) by such methods as are provided by 
                law for the recovery of amounts owed to the 
                Federal Government.
            (2) Repayment by borrower.--
                    (A) In general.--Any amount repaid by, or 
                recovered from, an individual or the estate of 
                an individual under this subsection shall be 
                credited to the appropriation account from 
                which the amount involved was originally paid.
                    (B) Merger.--Any amount credited under 
                subparagraph (A) shall be merged with other 
                sums in such account and shall be available for 
                the same purposes and period, and subject to 
                the same limitations, if any, as the sums with 
                which the amount was merged.
                    (C) Waiver.--The Attorney General may 
                waive, in whole or in part, a right of recovery 
                under this subsection if it is shown that 
                recovery would be against equity and good 
                conscience or against the public interest.
            (3) Limitations.--
                    (A) Student loan payment amount.--Student 
                loan repayments made by the Attorney General 
                under this section shall be made subject to the 
                availability of appropriations, and subject to 
                such terms, limitations, or conditions as may 
                be mutually agreed upon by the borrower and the 
                Attorney General in an agreement under 
                paragraph (1), except that the amount paid by 
                the Attorney General under this section shall 
                not exceed--
                            (i) $10,000 for any borrower in any 
                        calendar year; or
                            (ii) an aggregate total of $60,000 
                        in the case of any borrower.
                    (B) Beginning of payments.--Nothing in this 
                section shall authorize the Attorney General to 
                pay any amount to reimburse a borrower for any 
                repayments made by such borrower prior to the 
                date on which the Attorney General entered into 
                an agreement with the borrower under this 
                subsection.
    (e) Additional Agreements.--
            (1) In general.--On completion of the required 
        period of service under an agreement under subsection 
        (d), the borrower and the Attorney General may, subject 
        to paragraph (2), enter into an additional agreement in 
        accordance with subsection (d).
            (2) Term.--An agreement entered into under 
        paragraph (1) may require the borrower to remain 
        employed as a prosecutor or public defender for less 
        than 3 years.
    (f) Award Basis; Priority.--
            (1) Award basis.--The Attorney General shall 
        provide repayment benefits under this section--
                    (A) subject to the availability of 
                appropriations; and
                    (B) in accordance with paragraph (2), 
                except that the Attorney General shall 
                determine a fair allocation of repayment 
                benefits among prosecutors and defenders, and 
                among employing entities nationwide.
            (2) Priority.--In providing repayment benefits 
        under this section in any fiscal year, the Attorney 
        General shall give priority to borrowers--
                    (A) who, when compared to other eligible 
                borrowers, have the least ability to repay 
                their student loans (considering whether the 
                borrower is the beneficiary of any other 
                student loan repayment program), as determined 
                by the Attorney General; or
                    (B) who--
                            (i) received repayment benefits 
                        under this section during the preceding 
                        fiscal year; and
                            (ii) have completed less than 3 
                        years of the first required period of 
                        service specified for the borrower in 
                        an agreement entered into under 
                        subsection (d).
    (g) Regulations.--The Attorney General is authorized to 
issue such regulations as may be necessary to carry out the 
provisions of this section.
    (h) Report by Inspector General.--Not later than 3 years 
after the date of the enactment of this section, the Inspector 
General of the Department of Justice shall submit to Congress a 
report on--
            (1) the cost of the program authorized under this 
        section; and
            (2) the impact of such program on the hiring and 
        retention of prosecutors and public defenders.
    (i) Gao Study.--Not later than one year after the date of 
the enactment of this section, the Comptroller General shall 
conduct a study of, and report to Congress on, the impact that 
law school accreditation requirements and other factors have on 
the costs of law school and student access to law school, 
including the impact of such requirements on racial and ethnic 
minorities.
    (j) Authorization of Appropriations.--There is authorized 
to be appropriated to carry out this section $25,000,000 for 
each of the fiscal years 2008 through 2013.

           *       *       *       *       *       *       *


                            Additional Views

    H.R. 916, the ``John R. Justice Prosecutors and Defenders 
Incentive Act of 2007,'' establishes a loan forgiveness program 
within the Department of Justice for State and local 
prosecutors and for Federal, State and local public defenders. 
However, the bill, as introduced, raised several concerns 
regarding the breadth and cost of the loan forgiveness program.
    We are pleased that the majority listened to our concerns 
and reached a bipartisan compromise that ensures fiscal 
responsibility while encouraging young attorneys to join the 
criminal justice system and preventing attrition.
    Many law school graduates carry a large amount of student 
loan debt--on average, between $50,000 and $80,000. More than 
80% of law students borrow to pay for their law degree, and the 
amount borrowed by many students exceeds $100,000. At the same 
time, the median entry-level salary for State prosecuting 
attorneys is $46,000, and the median entry-level salary for 
public defenders is $43,000.
    The bill, as introduced, would have resulted in a very 
costly program. Although the bill caps repayment at $60,000 per 
applicant, as few as 25,000 applicants would cost $1.5 billion 
over the life of the program even with the cap in place. The 
bill also authorized the program at $25 million for the first 
year and such sums as are necessary for each additional year. 
The bipartisan compromise authorizes $25 million a year for six 
years. This fiscally responsible limit on the authorization 
provides Congress the opportunity to review the cost 
effectiveness of the program.
    The bipartisan compromise also directs the Inspector 
General of the Department of Justice to review the costs of the 
program and determine whether the program positively impacts 
the hiring and retention of prosecutors and public defenders.
    The compromise also directs the Department of Justice to 
administer this program subject only to the availability of 
appropriations, ensuring that the Department's criminal justice 
responsibilities remain a priority.
    The bipartisan compromise directs the Attorney General to 
give priority to those applicants with the least ability to 
repay their loans. This provision guarantees that funds will be 
made available under this program to those prosecutors or 
public defenders suffering the greatest burden.
    Several States and prosecuting agencies currently offer 
loan repayment programs. Yet, H.R. 916, as introduced, made no 
provision for whether participation in an existing State and 
local loan repayment program would offset repayment from this 
program. The substitute amends the bill to direct the 
Department of Justice to consider applicants' participation in 
other loan repayment programs when determining their ability to 
pay their loans.

                                   Lamar Smith.
                                   Steve Chabot.
                                   Daniel E. Lungren.